Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on Jon Cruddas, IDS and Clegg’s 1922 moment.

1. A leadership candidate with a convincing anti-war record will do best

At LabourList, Daniel Blaney says that a leader who voted and marched against the Iraq war would be best for the party.

2. Jon Cruddas for Mayor of London: the campaign starts here

Sunny Hundal says that Cruddas must be persuaded to run for mayor: he's the only candidate who can win against Boris Johnson.

3. Hurrah for Duncan Smith?

Hopi Sen points to a tension in today's proposed welfare reforms, between fundamental investment in helping people return to work and immediate public spending cuts.

4. Lib Dem deputy leadership. Nick Clegg's own 1922 Committee problem?

The Telegraph's James Kirkup explores whether the election of Simon Hughes as deputy leader would spell trouble for David Cameron.

5. How will the coalition partners do in the final seat?

PoliticalBetting's Mike Smithson suggests that an expenses controversy may harm the Conservative vote in today's Thirsk and Malton election.

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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.